Monday, September 30, 2013

The Gothic Budget: Tips for Acquiring a Less Expensive Wardrobe

You actually have Sary Walrus to thank for this post.  She asked me if I had any tips for acquiring an inexpensive wardrobe, and what started as a short reply turned into... this rather long post!  While I can't guarantee the results will be inexpensive, it may help to make things less expensive.


Here are my tips, taken from personal experience:

1.  Learn to love thrift stores!  Find at least one that makes you feel good when you visit it and that seems to frequently have the kinds of things you want, and visit it once or twice a month. This works best when you go in "just to look", and don't have some very specific item(s) in mind.  Check ALL the size sections, not just your usual size.  I've found things that have been misplaced or sized larger or smaller than I usually wear that fit me perfectly.  (If you like it, try it on, even if it looks like it might not fit.)  And if something is damaged and it's not noted on the tag, ask if they'd be willing to mark it down a bit more.  Swap meets, garage sales and flea markets can also be great sources in this category; go early to get the best selection.

2.  Most of what I buy in "regular" stores is on sale, preferably clearance.  I also make use of the coupons from circulars and the gift cards that get sent in the mail from stores trying to boost their sales (like Kohl's does here on the West Coast since they started expanding). 

3.  I have a Victoria's Secret credit card, but the ONLY time I pick up new underthings is when they send me a coupon for a free pair (which is frequently!) and when I get a $10 gift card during my birthday month.  My lingerie drawer is overflowing, and most of it was free...  Awesome!!  I also make use of any Rewards program offered by stores I have credit cards with, like Torrid; between that and the coupons and birthday gift cards they send me, I frequently pay only a quarter to a third of the original price for brand new items.

4.  Catalogs can have great prices, but sizing and shipping can be a real problem.  I usually only buy jewelry and accessories from catalogs, but I've gotten some great deals.  For example, Victorian Trading Co. offers a $2.00 flat shipping rate on orders of any size once or twice a year, usually from August through October 31st; that's when I buy from them!  (It's noted on the catalog cover and on page 2 when this is offered.)  My incredible black lace parasol was $30 (not on sale), but with the low $2 flat rate shipping, I saved about $7 in shipping on my total order.  If you're buying clothing or furniture from them, this is the BEST POSSIBLE SALE you will ever get. 

5.  Private sales of used and unwanted new items in online communities like GothFash and GothMart on LiveJournal can land you some awesome stuff at very low prices.  You do have to have an account with LJ, but the basic account is free.  GothAuction.com is another good place for buying used items, and I've found that there are a LOT of sellers but not too many buyers there, so it's worth checking out.  Shops on Etsy.com have many unique items; they're not always inexpensive, but some sellers are open to trade or other deals.  It never hurts to ask; if you don't ask, the answer is always "No"!

6.  Commercial websites can be another good choice, if you're willing to take a chance.  GoodGoth.com offers "Mystery Bags" of clothes, shoes, legwear and jewelry for really low prices.  My experience is that they have some really crappy jewelry, but their legwear is excellent; I've gotten lovely thigh-his and tights in their Mystery Bags.  You don't get to choose anything but the size, but the price can be worth it. And don't forget to see if there's a "Deal of the Day" going on!

7.  If I DO pay full price for something, it's because it's AWESOME and perfect for me!  I found a Halloween-themed t-shirt yesterday at K-Mart that I LOVE, but it was in the juniors section.  They had only three left: a Small, a Medium, and a 2XL.  Needless to say, the two smaller ones I wouldn't even bother trying on, but the 2XL fits perfectly, and the fitted cut actually makes me look slimmer!  And while I did have to pay full price, it was only $15 which made it an even better deal.

8.  Impulse or comfort shopping is almost never a good idea.  The clothes I've bought when I was upset or not really in The Mood for shopping usually end up cluttering my closet and never being worn, mainly because I'm just grabbing things that don't really call to me, and that IS expensive.  Remember this motto:  If it doesn't BEG you to wear it, don't buy it, or get rid of it to make room for the things that do!

I hope this post is helpful.  May you all find the dark wardrobes of your dreams!!

13 comments:

  1. I love this! I include most of these in all my decision making when finding new stuff. There are a few things I've paid quite a bit for but they are things that last me like 10 years. Most of the time I thrift always or go to forever 21 or Ross or one of my friend's shops online :> When I shop in store if it is a "popular" store if you order things there from a catalog it comes with free shipping most of the time so that is rad too.

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    1. I've GOT to check out Ross again... I've heard great things, but never had any luck when I was there. It's been awhile, though, so maybe my luck will change! Or maybe I can convince YOU to go with me for luck, hehehe! :-)

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  2. This is so helpful, especially the Victorian Secret tip! :3 Thanks!

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  3. Great advice!!!!
    A thrift/used/second hand shop tip : Check your local paper/news blog, etc. for church rummage sales, estate sales, garages sales. I've gotten some wonderful things for next-to-nothing!

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    1. I'd completely forgotten about that, great idea, thank you! :-)

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  4. I actually have a post that is a guide to thrift shopping..since about 90 percent of my wardrobe comes from thrift shops. I posted the link if you are interested!

    http://violetisodd.blogspot.com/2013/06/a-guide-to-thrift-store-shopping-and.html

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    1. YES, I'm interested, thanks for the link! :-)

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  5. I'm with you on the thrift shops especially. There's one I visit quite often and I've found quite a few awesome items there.

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    1. All it takes is one good one, although I'm definitely open to finding more than one! And I'm very lucky that My One is within walking distance of my apartment AND is right on the way home from work. :-)

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  6. Some great advice there! I almost entirely shop at thrift stores. I also find that if you make a mistake buying something there that does not suit you, you only blew about $10 at most, not like some things I have bought first hand like the shiny Goth boots I spent $130 on and never wore or the cute dress that was so not me that cost me $30!

    Buying anything online in Australia can be an issue, shipping from overseas is at least $15 from Amazon for a book, often $30 flat rate from America for clothes! Argh! The mind boggles!

    And like you say only get it if it really suits you. I have got things that were so nice but not my taste, and never worn them. Needless to say, my family were extremely pleased to inherit them, though!

    I have also realised that if I am going to pay the kind of price for something that it would cost to get it custom made or buy something nicer, then I should get it custom made or buy the nicer item. For instance if I see a dress for $200, that is $200 that a seamstress could make me a well fitted dress for (and I could probably pay for some of the materials out of that too! So I always try to judge quality firsts

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    1. Great comments, thanks! I've heard from soooo many people how bad the shipping to Australia is; it's really a shame and very unfair to all of you who live there.

      Custom-made items are something I hadn't even thought about, but you are totally right! If you're going to pay a lot of money anyway, you might as well have it of good quality materials and made JUST for you.

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